Evolution Began 400 Million Years Early: Scientists
Team uncovers secret in Scottish Highlands
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 11, 2010 2:32 PM CST
The coast of Scotland is seen in this file photo.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A team of scientists studying rocks in Scotland has discovered that the evolution of earth’s organisms from simple microbes to complex lifeforms began about 400 million years earlier than previously believed. Geochemical analysis of the rocks indicates that oxygen levels began to rise to a useful level about 1.2 billion years ago, rather than 800 million years ago as previously believed, the Independent reports. That oxygen in turn allowed organisms to begin evolving.

“This opens the door to a new understanding of the evolution of our planet's atmosphere and the life it sustains,” gushed one scientist. “Our findings, which shift this key point in the evolution of life on Earth to a much earlier date than previously proven, will give impetus to further investigations into the timescale of the development of complex life.”
 

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